The Australian Government will invest P630 million over the next six years to support disaster and climate resilience efforts in the Philippines.
This is part of its newly signed agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which involves the initiative that will strengthen the disaster and climate resilience of targeted local governments in the Philippines.
UNDP is the leading UN organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change.
UNDP works with a broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, including the Philippines.
Dubbed as the Strengthening Institutions and Empowering Localities against Disasters and Climate Change (SHIELD) program, the initiative will particularly work with local governments, as the first responders to emergencies, by building their institutional and community resilience capacities against natural hazards and climate change.
SHIELD will be implemented by UNDP, together with consortium partners UN-Habitat, Philippine Business for Social Progress, National Resilience Council, and the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society.
It is a six-year program that will be done across ten of the country’s most vulnerable provinces to disaster and climate change impacts.
At the same time, the project will also cover Metro Manila, given its vulnerability to earthquakes and its economic significance, along with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), with the increasing disaster and climate vulnerability of conflict-affected areas.
While significant progress has been made in disaster risk reduction and management and climate action, the Philippines remains among the countries most vulnerable to natural hazards and climate change impacts globally, UNDP said.
“The cost of disasters to the country is significantly high, with local governments and communities bearing the brunt,” it added.
Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven J. Robinson AO said this new investment affirms Australia’s continued commitment to the Philippines as a dependable partner in building the long-term disaster and climate resilience of its institutions and its people.
“Enhancing resilience remains a high priority for Australia, particularly in the Philippines, which is extremely vulnerable to disasters and the impacts of climate change. Through SHIELD, we will work with governments, private sector, civil society and academic institutions to enhance and sustain community resilience,” Ambassador Robinson further added.
The SHIELD program endeavors to accelerate resilience-building efforts in the Philippines by collaborating with multiple stakeholders to unlock financing and implement risk-informed and inclusive resilience actions at the local level.
The initiative will also support the national government establish the needed enabling environment and work with Philippine scientific agencies to produce tailored and accessible information that will inform local resilience actions.
“Through SHIELD, our ultimate aim is for our target communities to be safer and more resilient to the impacts of natural hazards and climate change, taking also into account the lessons brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic,” UNDP Philippines Resident Representative Selva Ramachandran said.